I first met Steve Hill in the mid-1980s when he was raising money as an Assemblies of God missionary to Argentina. I have clear recollection because we cried in my office, talking about his passion for souls.
Today I'm tempted to weep for him after learning he died on Sunday after a long bout with cancer.
Actually, it's a miracle he lived this long with the aggressive cancer he had. In the meantime, his life was a miracle, and he even had time to write a book called Spiritual Avalanche.
That book grew out of a dream about how ski patrol will trigger an avalanche when there's danger of one happening naturally, killing unsuspecting skiers.
Steve called me one Saturday to tell me about the dream. He was so concerned with how the church is happily “playing church” while a cultural and spiritual avalanche is threatening to kill many spiritually. He was so passionate, he cried in the phone.
I urged him to write a blog post warning the church of the danger of the message of hypergrace, which he thought was a spiritual cop-out to cover sinful compromise.
The overwhelming response to that article led to Steve to write book by the same title. He wrote that book in spite of the excruciating pain of his cancer. We rushed it out a year ago.
Over the years, Steve and I became friends. I deeply respected his life of integrity and his deep commitment to winning souls. In heaven, there will be thousands of people there as a result of his witness and his short life.
He's the evangelist who, on Fathers Day in 1995, preached at a little-known Assembly of God church in Pensacola, Fla., that started a revival. People would stand in line for hours just to get a seat. I attended many times, and we covered the Brownsville Revival extensively in Charisma. I once did an interview with him that aired on TBN, which you can see here.
Others will eulogize Steve better than I. My purpose is to tell you I've watched his life for three decades, admire the work he did and mourn his early demise. I don't understand why the miracle healing we prayed for didn't extend his life even more.
This is more personal to me since, in the past six weeks, I went through my own bout with cancer. Mine was caught early, and I haven't made it public until now. I'll write about my testimony after I've had time to process my own miracle better.
For now, I mourn the loss of my friend. Yet I rejoice for his life and thank God for the impact for eternity he made. I pray God will raise up many other Steve Hills to fill the enormous void his death leaves for us in the Spirit-filled church.
Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).